Baby-sitting lessons at Cromer High School

Teenagers are getting a taste of responsibility at a babysitting course at Cromer High School.Youngsters aged 13 and 14 are attending the course in their free time to learn how to properly take care of babies and younger children.

Teenagers are getting a taste of responsibility at a babysitting course at Cromer High School.

Youngsters aged 13 and 14 are attending the course in their free time to learn how to properly take care of babies and younger children.

The course, which is being run for the first time, has attracted 13 girls from the school, many of whom are already babysitting regularly for friends and family.

Sarah Goodwin, 13, who babysits for her seven-year-old cousin, said: 'It teaches you how to look after children and it's good for the future when we have kids of our own.


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'One of the best bits has been looking at children's books and learning about story sacks - bags full of toys and games that relate to the books, that you can go through with kids who are about two to about six. There's things like a game based on 'There was an old woman who swallowed a fly', where you put a fly in the woman's mouth. They keep reading interesting for the kids.'

Poppy Lee, 14, regularly looks after her two brothers aged two and four, and Rachel Lambert, 13, babysits for her three nephews and niece, all aged between one and five. The girls plan to look for more babysitting work with people who are not family members.

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Rachel said: 'We all want to babysit for more people once the course is over, and this will give us an advantage.' All three girls say the certificates will help them find more work and prove their suitability.

As well as spending time with a librarian learning about the importance of reading to children - and how to keep them interested - the group has had talks from Connexions and Norfolk County Council's Child Employment Services about CV building and their rights as employees.

There are also basic first aid lessons, where the girls get hands-on practical training with dummies on how to administer CPR and put people in the recovery position.

They are taught the right way to cope with emergency situations, particularly with children, and how to treat with minor wounds, burns, cuts and grazes. The training is given by Anthony Sadler, a teaching assistant at the school who has run training courses around the country while working with the Red Cross.

Extended schools co-ordinator Hayley Staniforth, who organises the sessions, said: 'The course gives the students a good grounding in the things they need to know to look after children - for some of them it's the first step towards more childcare qualifications.

'They get a certificate at the end that they can show to employers, to prove that they're committed and that they know how to babysit responsibly.'

Ms Staniforth hopes to expand the course next year if possible, as a number of younger students have already expressed interest.

The lessons could be opened up to teenagers from other schools as part of the extended schools programme, which requires schools to work with and open up to the wider community in which they sit.

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